My Writing Process: Behind the Scenes of Terra Monstra

Obligatory Introduction

Alright, so instead of my other posts which all elaborate on the story and world of Terra Monstra itself , I figured it would be a good idea to talk about how I have gone about writing so far, and hey, maybe some aspiring writers out there will be inspired and write their own story. Who knows?

How Did It All Start?

A Certain Character

Initially, my blog’s story started about February last year, in the form of a character named, as some people will guess, Henry Arten. This name is simply a blanket name I go about when writing characters, as names is something I struggle with heavily, and that one has always stuck, so I use it as the name of my account. Most other times I use a random name generator and see what sticks. This character still exists within the world of Terra Monstra, and may have already been introduced, but they were where this whole story began.

A Thought Emerges

I had written the character as part of a very loose writing chat with some friends, it was similar to a tabletop game, but on a chat group rather than a board. The premise of the character was simple, a character gets stuck in a universe far different from their own. In this case, it was a shift from the medieval world of Terra Monstra to a far more modern one. Throughout the chat I would make reference to the early beginnings of Terra Monstra, passing thoughts to help develop the character and their background, I had fun.

Not long after that, I began to enjoy myself and got carried away, describing the world they originated from in much greater detail. Towns and cities were created, religions and magic, the whole shebang. As I wrote things down I began to refine the setting, editing out what was deemed necessary, eventually the setting was done, and I left what I had untouched for several months.

When last year’s NANOWRIMO (National Novel/November Writing Month) hit, my English 101 class was assigned to participate for a project grade. We were not given any minimum or limit on the amount of words we could write, and we could write about whatever subject matter we pleased. Being as I already had a structure down, I figured it would have been easy to write a small story and call it a day. 6,000 words later I had the barebones beginnings of what you see on my site today.

Beginning Advice

Advice I’d have to give about starting a story is put thought into the setting. Where your characters live and how they interact with the world is integral for world-building and character development. Think about what kind of story you want to tell in that setting. Maybe a young adult is emerging from an oppressive family and they’re trying to make their way through a war torn futuristic world. Or it could be a grizzled veteran teaching a rookie the cold arts of medieval war. Anything is possible, all you need is motivation and the medium to write it on.

How I Write

Though I haven’t compared it to other writing processes, my way of going around it is somewhat simple.

A Rough Draft

I start by writing out the general structure of what I want to go down over the course of the story. This could range anywhere from a couple sentences to a couple paragraphs for each event, though sometimes it’s as short and sweet as the length of a chapter intro. Then I proceed to write out the event on paper, I don’t try caring about spelling or grammatical errors at this point, all that matters is describing what is at hand in detail. I generally focus on character interaction and scene description for readers to get a better feeling of what is going on in the scene. I never want a scene to be bare bones.

Editing And Post

After I’m satisfied with the length of what I have written, I reread it out loud. Any time something feels wrong, either I don’t like how I wrote something, or it doesn’t make grammatical sense, I make an edit between the margins. After that portion has finished I open up WordPress and begin writing the post itself. At this point, due to the fact that I’m actually transferring the post from one medium to another, I may notice something that I didn’t catch in my initial read-through. When that occurs, I go back and rewrite it again until I’m satisfied with it, at which point I find a relevant image to match the chapter, and post.

Character Interaction

Character interaction and development is something that is extremely important to me. With character development, a reader can develop a greater investment in said characters and thus the story itself as well. It doesn’t matter how interesting the world is, or how detailed you describe your setting, characters are what make up a story, so there should be a significant amount of your writing devoted to them. I write in the third person perspective, so it’s generally easy to describe the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters, though first person has it’s own merits as well, as it allows for the narrator’s interpretation of their thoughts rather than plain statements

What to Take From This?

Be Invested

Any story should be one where you, the author, have investment in. If you aren’t invested in your own story, you shouldn’t be writing it.

Focus On What You Think Matters

Though I may have given my thoughts on what I think is most important, each writer is there own person. Do you think background and setting have a greater importance? Capitalize on that! Do you like stories that go completely off the rails with world-building? Me too! Do you prefer first person? Then write in first person! What matters is that it’s something you feel comfortable writing.

Be Satisfied

Don’t just write what you think is passable and walk away. Write to what makes you happy with your own work. Different people will come and go, but you will always be your own reader, and your worst critic. If you aren’t satisfied, make it into something you can be satisfied with.

It’s been a pleasure,

-Henry Arten